“When we move, you will have a room all by yourself, and so will Bubby,” promised Momma and Daddy. And they kept that promise.
About a quarter of a mile south of the sandy creek in the Southeastern corner of Colorado where the climate was dry there was a white wooden house built like a picture I would draw for a child—a square box with inverted V on the top of it with a window in the V. That’s probably the way I would have drawn it when I was seven, and, alas, it is the way I would draw a house now given my lack of artistic ability! There was no door in that view of the house. The door was on the long side of the house which was probably about 24 x 48 feet divided inside near the middle into two rooms. We spent most of the time in the north room which served as kitchen and setting room, where we ate, talked, entertained extended family, and listened to the radio. Just inside that door, you could step to the right and go up some steep stairs. You would step onto a little landing from which you turned left to my bedroom and right to my brother’s room. Across my room was the window from where I could see the creek when the cottonwood trees were not dressed in their white blossoms or green foliage.
My head tells me it must have often been hot in that room, but that’s not my memory. My memory: Cool breezes lifting the corners of a the ruffled curtain made from chicken feed sacks. A cot-sized bed always neat with clean and ironed sheets which were also a valued gift from feed sacks. Hand pieced tied quilts. An all purpose wooden crate. Yellow and pink floral wall paper under which the walls had been prepped with pasted newspaper to give the walls a smoother texture. Laying on the floor playing with paper dolls. Sitting on a stair, feeling beautiful with my new Toni permanent.
Crucial habits and changes came during my tenure in my attic room. I decided that I was a good student, who could make good grades without cheating. I formed the bed making habit. I found out about “ownership.” I developed from my childhood to girlhood. I didn’t think much about “beauty” but I did think my mom dressed me in pretty dresses. I became patriotic. Even out in the wide-open plains, my family cooperated with “black outs” that were announced on radio during the days of World War II. I understood with thankfulness that most of the men in our family were exempt from selective service because of the fact that they were farmers. On one clothes washing day, Mom called me to come down stairs, she was very serious as she told me President Roosevelt had died. I learned John 3:16. I learned integrity as shown by my family and their associates.
Some things I wonder about. I wonder where mother kept those fancy frilly feed sack dresses. I wonder what I kept on that wooden crate. I wonder why books didn’t seem to be a part of my life then; however, I never remember a time when I could not read. I wonder why mom did not make me work more. Gathering eggs is the only farm chore I remember. I did have to wash dishes, but I think mother washed the hard ones before giving the duty over to me. I wonder that so much love and respect was a part of my life, although I seldom remember hearing “I love you,” or receiving kisses. I wonder how a daily life of servant-hood and care by my mom and dad with an occasional squeeze around the shoulders could have been so satisfying!
A room with a view. A fairly non-descript view of the land, but a life-forming view of the world.